I was making Easter treats for the shelter and I realized there was a lot, a lot of chocolate.  And surprisingly there are many many people who don’t love chocolate.  Well, I’m not so surprised anymore.  I had buttermilk in the fridge and wanted to make something for the vanilla lovers. 

I’ve made a few cakes lately that just don’t hit the spot.  One I made from a blog that I had to toss into the garbage.  So I went searching through my books and remembered that I could always count on Flo Bracker.  Her book Baking for all Occasions is one I used to reach for and hadn’t in a while.  I’m really glad I revisited.

This buttermilk cake is simple, light, airy, tasty and well, just that.  All of that.  And it is great served as is – or with a little powdered sugar.  I decided I needed to counteract the chocolate even more by adding berries and whipped cream.  Well.  That did it!  

The top of my cake was scraped a bit because it rubbed up onto my cooking rack but whatever.  Cake is cake and I’ve never been one to make the prettiest of sweets. 

Flo urges you to bring everything to room temp – so try to remember that!  Pull everything out now, and wait 25 m – then begin.  Enjoy this 


  • 1 3/4 cups (7 ounces/200 g) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher salt or use 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2/3 cup (5 1/2 fl ounces/165 ml) well-shaken buttermilk (room temp if you can)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 ounces (1 1/3 stick/155 grams) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 1/3 cups (91/2 ounces/260 grams) sugar
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
I doubled this recipe btw – and used a bigger pan as I was baking for a crowd.


If you have a kitchen scale, then use the weighted measurements.  Your cake will have a better chance at being its best self – hah.  If you don’t know how to use the “tare” button then check it out here.  It is a 24 second video that will make your life so easy.  And get a scale – well worth it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remember to pull out ingredients to room temp. 

Prep your 8 inch square pan.  You can do this a variety of ways.  I like to spray a little oil in my pan then squish parchement paper in there.  You can also grease and then flour the pan.  You can also line just the bottom of the pan with parchment.  

Whisk together in a small bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Measure out the buttermilk and add the vanilla to that.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or beaters on electric hand held) beat the butter on medium speed until it is lighter in color, clings to the sides of the bowl, and has a statin appearance. This should take a minute or two.  Slowly add the sugar in a steady stream.  Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Another 3-4 minutes or so.  Scrape down the bowl now and then.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs slowly.  About 2 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition.  Bump the speed up to medium high if your eggs are not incorporated into the batter.  Again, scrape the bowl down here and there.

On the lowest speed, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk.  Stop to scrape down the bowl, and don’t overmix here.  Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour and the rest of the buttermilk. Lastly add the last bit of flour.  Again, just mix a little.  Then remove from mixer and use a spatula to gently fold to just combing all ingredients.  

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and Flo says to spread the batter from the center outward, creating a slightly raised ridge around the outside rim.  (Since heat is conducted faster near the metal rim, mounding the batter around the edges ensures the cake will bake more evenly and will be more level.)

Bake the cake just until it is golden brown on top, springs back when lightly touched in the center, a toothpick comes out just clean and the sides are just beginning to come away from the pan.  

She places the time at 45 m – but if I’m remember right mine took less time.  So as usual check earlier and then often at the end of baking.  I’d set my timer for 35 m and just have a look see and plan from there.

Eat as is, or with confectioners’ sugar and/or with berries, whipped cream.  Whatever you like.  



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